Can’t get 5.1 to work

HylianKnight

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Jul 18, 2017
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Logic of my purchase despite owning a smart 4K tv:
Convenience, as I hate how Android Oreo on my Sony chugs and lags. The other reason for my purchase was so I could have a HomeKit hub.

Setup
I have my ATV plugged into the hdmi 2 port on my Sony X930E. An hdmi cable is connecting my old LG Blu-ray 5.1 hometheater in a box to the TV utilizing the ARC channel on both devices. I also have them connected with an optical cable.

The Issue
When watching a title on Netflix/Prime via the ATV I can only get 2.0 audio. When I watch the same title using my TVs native apps I get full 5.1 audio. Any suggestions. I’m beginning to think I need to buy a whole new receiver, which then means I’d need to buy new speakers and I really would like to avoid that if possible.

I have tried forcing 5.1 Dolby via Apple TV settings without success.
 

priitv8

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Jan 13, 2011
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Estonia
2017 Bravia shall support DD5.1 on all HDMI inputs and also be able to output it via ARC or TOSLINK.
However, aTV normally produces PCM5.1 or 7.1 and that is not among Bravia's capabilities.
So your only chance is to enforce aTV to encode its audio output to DD5.1 in Settings.
To see if the problem is not with Prime/Netflix apps on tvOS you should run your own movie clip with 5.1 audio, from TV app or alternatively via AirPlay/HomeSharing.
 
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HylianKnight

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Jul 18, 2017
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2017 Bravia shall support DD5.1 on all HDMI inputs and also be able to output it via ARC or TOSLINK.
However, aTV normally produces PCM5.1 or 7.1 and that is not among Bravia's capabilities.
So your only chance is to enforce aTV to encode its audio output to DD5.1 in Settings.
To see if the problem is not with Prime/Netflix apps on tvOS you should run your own movie clip with 5.1 audio, from TV app or alternatively via AirPlay/HomeSharing.
I double checked with my own media, no 5.1. I think what is happening has to do with what you and audit13 are describing, at least in part. I suspect that because I’m running the aTV direct to my 2017 Bravia and then having the audio fed to my old LG Blu-ray theater in a box, that the audio is being changed to 2.0 by the TV. I’m going to test plugging the aTV direct to my receiver to test my theory. If my hypothesis is proved correct I’ll be forced to finally upgrade to a proper home theater system since I don’t have 4K pass through. If my receiver still only outputs 2.0 with aTV plugged directly in then I’ll be getting a new receiver.

Lol, seems like I’m almost guaranteed to be getting a new receiver. Buying a new receiver is something I have wanted to do, but didn’t really set aside a budget for at the moment. Any other thoughts? Thank you by the way.
 

priitv8

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Jan 13, 2011
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Estonia
I double checked with my own media, no 5.1. I think what is happening has to do with what you and audit13 are describing, at least in part. I suspect that because I’m running the aTV direct to my 2017 Bravia and then having the audio fed to my old LG Blu-ray theater in a box, that the audio is being changed to 2.0 by the TV.
So, I did my own double-check. I did not use the aTV, but a blu-ray player with a vintage DVD having DD5.1 audio track (Panic Room).
Connected DVD player to HDMI1 on my Bravia. HDMI3(ARC) is conneced to my AVR.
There is no problem getting DD5.1 pass-through to ARC and 5.1 sound from the speakers.
As I said, aTV behaves differently with audio on its HDMI output, but if you set in Preferences the Audio Output to Dolby Digital 5.1, then you must get a clean DD5.1 audio included into HDMI signal and the Bravia is indeed able to pass it through to ARC or optical out.
Have you also checked the audio settings on Bravia? Some of them are global, some individual per output-port.
 

HylianKnight

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Original poster
Jul 18, 2017
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Thanks again for everything so far. I’d like to amend some previous info. I can force 5.1 via atv settings and get actual 5.1 when using iTunes movies/shows that support 5.1. It appears my problem has to do with some apps, specifically Netflix on atv. To test I used “Our Planet” and switched back and forth from the Netflix app for atv and the native app built into my Sony x930e. I noticed two things.

1) 5.1 won’t work on Netflix for atv but will work fine on the Netflix app on my Sony TV.

2) The color of Dolby vision is noticeably better on the Sony Netflix app compared to the atv app. Colors pop more and are slightly brighter. I made sure all video settings match between the two different inputs. Also, I have atv set to 4K SDR with match content on.

I’d like to also ask, has anyone experienced what I have noticed?
 
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Michelasso

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Feb 20, 2012
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I just did a quick test switching my ATV HDMI cable from the receiver to the TV (thus using HDMI-ARC). I tried with Infuse because I don't have a Netflix subscription at the moment. It plays PCM 2.0 indeed.

It seems that to get DD 5.1 you must force it in Settings/Video and Audio/Audio Format/Change format. Change from "Auto" to "Dolby Digital". I have read that the audio quality isn't the best, but you should get the surround.

About the colours my Sony XD80 is an older (and cheaper) model, with no Dolby Vision. HDR usually looks better from ATV apps (especially Netflix), but my experience ends here.